The Progress Party is not my idea. Whose idea it was is immaterial for me. Once I could ascertain that the motive behind it was genuine, I decided to volunteer, just like many others working behind the scene, to make a contribution. I’m merely here to help shape or define its identity. Personally, I don’t see it as a vehicle to capture power in the next 2, 3 or even 5 years. This is not to say it may not happen though.
The pervading mentality of the youth demographic needs fervent and urgent rehabilitation; and it is in this area that we consider such a political platform a thing of urgent need. A people cannot take charge of their destiny if they do not believe in themselves.
I see a number of people, being overly critical of this budding political group, but too much criticism never helps. In the past few days, I’ve seen what I consider bizarre questions couched as intellectual discourse. But we know this game too well. They keep saying: “but the Nigerian youth are divided”, “bring money now and everything will scatter”.
Of course, it is easy to see through this unintelligent, if not utterly misplaced rambling. In what planet, one may ask, do these people inhabit? Why is it an issue if the youth are divided? Must the world stop because the Nigerian youth are divided? Where in the world are the youth together? Are the American youth together? Are the ones in Britain who voted for BREXIT and their counterparts on the other side together? Are the politicians themselves together? I will not devote any more time on people who asks these kinds of question. I just want to state that we are buoyed by many, and I mean, an incredible number of young people asking in what capacity they can assist or volunteer for us. I am humbled by the level of interest seen so far. It’s been totally overwhelming.
Let me say something important here: in my University, the student population there is 18,000+, and there are 4 – 5 other tertiary institutions in Abia State who are more or less of a similar number. If all these students decide to vote for a youth candidate as a State Governor for example, someone that represents their aspirations, that person’s opponent would be in trouble.
But here is the interesting part: even if you were to promise those students tuition subsidies or better educational facilities, you’d be struggling to see any of them at the polls on Election Day. The girls will be painting their nails at the salon, fucking at their boyfriends houses or cooking indomine. And the boys would be in the field playing football. They’ve long concluded that their votes aren’t going to count anyway, they would have resolved that they are fighting a lost battle. It is this mentality that the Progress Party intends to dismantle first. They say we are noisemakers and that politics is not about speaking English. Well, pray this English doesn’t reset the minds of the dis-educated and dispossessed class.
The Progress Party is a political party that will leverage on the grit, energy and innovation of Nigeria’s youth to transform our country into a place that benefits not only a select few, but all of its citizens. Our party is premised on the idea that the older generation, the generation of our parents have failed us; and since they are part of the problem, they cannot be part of the solution.
We summon, therefore, all concerned youths, irrespective of ethnicity, region, religion or geographical space, to come and own this dream, and together we can arrest the rot and misgovernance that has been visited on us by the current crop of rulers. Together, we will not only demand for proper health, economic, educational and security infrastructures, but have a platform to stand for elections and do these things ourselves. Together we can prevent old, tired gerontocrats with failed past to define our future.
We make bold to say that, the Nigerian youth demographic built Nollywood, we built the music industry, our technological inventiveness brought Mark Zuckerberg to Nigeria; we therefore believe we have all it takes to change our country. Through the Progress Party, we are carving out a political space to not only incubate ideas that will take Nigeria into the 21st century, but most importantly, to have a platform that will enable us contest for office and assume our rightful place in defining Nigeria’s future and the future of the unborn generation.